On Twitter, a blue-check Trump supporter claimed that neoconservatives objected to a summit with the Taliban because they are “really mad he is trying to end the war” in Afghanistan.
Of course, this is an absurd oversimplification of the debate, and a dishonest representation of neocons. There are solid policy reasons to stay in Afghanistan, such as keeping al-Qaida from re-establishing a base to attack us or cause further chaos in the Middle East. Furthermore, we have occupied Afghanistan for a far shorter time than we occupied Germany and Japan after World War II.
I have seen more and more conservatives embracing the Leftist meme that neoconservatives “want” war, especially in support of Donald Trump’s foreign policy. This is absurd. No one “wants” war. The debate is over what wars are necessary, and which are not. The debate is over what the goals should be, how far we need to go and how long we should commit to armed conflict to accomplish those goals and protect the homeland from Muslim terrorists. Nobody desires perpetual war in Afghanistan.
Have we forgotten September 11 so quickly? We knew that Muslim terrorists were establishing a base in Afghanistan in the 1990’s and we know how radical the Taliban’s ideology was. We allowed that cancer to fester, which resulted in the World Trade Center being reduced to smoldering rubble.
The War on Terror is not a traditional ground war. One hundred years ago, a few radicals on the other side of the planet were no threat to us. Protected by two oceans, the only real threat was a naval attack by other world powers. That is not the case any more, as Muslim terrorists used our own transportation infrastructure to inflict a direct attack on us not seen since Pearl Harbor. But September 11 was even worse than Pearl Harbor, because while Pearl Harbor targeted a military installation, 9/11 was meant to murder as many civilians as possible. It was not just a terrorist attack. It was a war crime.
Look, I get it: We have been in Afghanistan for 18 years. There are soldiers going to war now who were newborns when it started. Fatigue is natural, and because we have been relatively safe it is easy for memories to fade of what it was like after September 11. So if there are policy arguments to be made about why it is time to wind down our occupation of Afghanistan, make those arguments. But if your “argument” is that neoconservatives “want an endless war,” you cannot be taken seriously.